Mar 02,2007 00:00
Got new year's plans?
If you're Baha'i, you'd better. Your new year starts at sunset March 21.
And if you're Buddhist, you may have recently observed the Chinese New Year along with others who follow Asian ethnic traditions.
Religious new years are about as varied and numerous as faith traditions themselves.
When a religion celebrates a new year depends typically on the sun and moon, and frequently which new moon or full moon falls during certain positions of the sun.
NEW YEAR - Al Quiros of
NEW YEAR - Al Quiros of
Like most other new years, Naw Ruz is a time for celebration, but nothing as rowdy as the secular Dec. 31-Jan. 1 celebrations, especially since the Baha'i Faith bans consumption of alcohol. With the faith that was founded less than 200 years ago scattered throughout 235 different countries, Truskey said, there are no overriding cultural traditions for observance of the Baha'i new year.
"We don't have a history," he said. "That's a wonderful thing. It's really what culture a Baha'i is coming from" that determines how he or she will celebrate the holiday. Truskey said he's been a Baha'i since 1970 and has been curious in different places he's lived in about how Naw Ruz would be celebrated. For instance, his experience in
In addition, the Baha'i new year comes at the conclusion of an annual period of fasting.
Zen Buddhists, meanwhile, celebrate different new years. Some centers hold special services on Dec. 31, while others wait until the Chinese New Year, which was Feb. 18 this year. Either way, said Cate Pfeifer, abbot of the
Jews have a ways to go before their big new year's observance, though, with Rosh Hashanah usually occurring in late summer or early autumn on the first day of the seventh month of the Jewish year. It's traditionally referred to as the Jewish new year because it's on this day that the year's number changes for Jews, important because the year's number signifies when jubilee and sabbatical years begin. The current year is 5765 since creation.
But it's also on that festival, marked by the blowing of shofars, or ram's horns, that a spiritual renewal should begin, said Rabbi Zalman Stein of
The new year of trees, called Tu B'shvat, or the 15th day of the biblical month of Shvat, has become more visible among Jews since they started returning to the
In ancient times, the first month of the Jewish year, called Aviv or Nissan, also marked the reigns of kings and was known as the new year for festivals, with the spring holiday Passover considered to be the first festival of the year.
And, finally, there's the first of Elul, which falls toward the end of summer and marked the age of cattle, important for a sacrificial system which only would allow the use of cattle of certain ages.
This year's new years
Copley News Service
Jan. 20: Hijra new year (Muslim)
Feb. 3: Tu B'shevat, Jewish new year of trees
Feb. 18: Chinese and Vietnamese new year - Confucian/Daoist/Buddhist
March 19, April 14: Hindu new year
March 20: first day of Jewish month of Aviv or Nisan, new year of kings and festivals
March 21: Baha'i new year
Aug. 15: First day of Jewish month of Elul, used in ancient times to determine age of cattle for tithing purposes
Sept. 13: Rosh Hashanah, Jewish new year, literally "head of the year"
Oct. 11: Annakut, new year for Hindus from north